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Fans Relive Birth of 49ers Dynasty


It's rare when a day passes and he's not asked about it.

But it's completely understandable. When you're signature play still stands out as one of the most iconic images in NFL history, people are going to want to talk about it. Dwight Clark is fine with that. His signature play in the 1982 NFC Championship game, known simply as "The Catch," garners plenty of attention in the hearts and minds of the 49ers Faithful.

The same can be said for the 49ers Hall of Famer, who had a chance to relive memories from that season at the team's recent "Super Bowl Under the Stars" event which honored the 30th anniversary of the 49ers' first Super Bowl victory.

"If I said I was asked about 'The Catch' every day," Clark said, "it would not be an exaggeration."

The former 49ers wide receiver was more than happy to discuss the key play. After all, it's hard to ignore constant reminders of his outstretched arms hauling in Joe Montana's pass against the Dallas Cowboys, but Clark was eager to relive the memory in greater detail last Saturday night.

It's a significant reason that led to the team's first Super Bowl Championship. But it wasn't the only determining factor; a critical goal line stand in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVI sealed the first 49ers championship.

Clark was joined on stage to discuss the game and the season in greater detail along with fellow 49ers Hall of Famer Fred Dean and a panel of former 49ers. The alumni traded banter and memories on the team's 26-21 over the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as offered opinions on "The Catch" and the infamous "Goal Line Stand." The group of former 49ers included linebackers Keena Turner, Willie Harper and Dan Bunz as well as cornerback Dwight Hicks, kicker Ray Wersching and wide receiver Mike Shumann.

The alumni also wore matching 49ers hooded sweatshirts in an act of solidarity. It was an appropriate gesture on a night for fans to display 49ers memorabilia. Some wore their best jerseys and team gear from recent years – others displayed the longevity of their support by way of sporting vintage 49ers apparel.

Either way, no matter what generation of 49ers football you grew up with, Faithful fans lined up Saturday night to relive the start of the team's dynasty of the 1980s.

The night, billed as a 30th anniversary celebration of the Super Bowl win, saw the team's turf practice field covered with blankets and lawn chairs as the team's Faithful fans watched the two-hour long game. Some Faithful lined up three hours before the gates open; others traveled long distances to attend.

Faithful fan Ryan Frates spent four hours driving to the event from Fresno, and came away very impressed with his time at 49ers headquarters.

"I couldn't miss an opportunity like this," he said. "This is an amazing event to experience."

Likewise, the former players were happy to reunite and discuss the Super Bowl win that kick-started a dynasty of 49ers football in the 80s.

"It's a great feeling," said Dean, one of three Pro Football Hall of Famers that played on the 1981 team. "It's good to be around the guys who I haven't been around in a while... It's sentimental, there's a lot of value in it." 

And just like the players, fans were fully invested in the event. Many had watched the original broadcast and were in Santa Clara to relive the memories as well as share them with friends and family members.

There was even a fan in an original Bunz No. 57 jersey, to which the former 49ers linebacker wondered out loud, "Maybe he'll want to trade something for it."

By all accounts, it was clear the alumni enjoyed the spotlight and the opportunity to reconnect with their fans. Good thing there are four more Super Bowls to celebrate. Clark, who won two World Championships as a player, also has three more rings from his time as a team executive.

"I dig it," Clark said of celebrating more Super Bowls with the fans. "I think it's a good idea. Whoever came up with the idea, brilliant!"

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